Please note the view expressed in this post are those of the member posting and not necessarily of the BBGA
With the topical theme of ‘Tomorrow’s World Today,’ much of the focus at The British Business and General Aviation Conference on 8 March was quite rightly on where business and general aviation will begin seeing increased competition and how they can begin innovating themselves to stay relevant.
Fanatical Futurist Matthew Griffin told the audience how new technology will drive the industry’s disruption, citing the introduction of the world’s first autonomous organisations in 2016. By 2025, Griffin said it is predicted that more decisions will be made by machines than humans. And that by 2040 we will see the end of the motor car as we know it, with new autonomous vehicles, minus steering wheel, dashboard and pedals. They are coming, he said, showing a futuristic ubiquitous design from Audi.
While today this might be a daunting prospect – most of the 150 delegates present still weren’t sold on the idea of pilotless aircraft – Griffin is confident emerging technologies will change the industry for the better. A switch to electric vehicles, for example, will see increasing investment in energy technology and supply, furthering the possibility of introducing batteries on aircraft and cutting fuel costs.
Elsewhere, Matthew Jones, Blockchain Leader, Automotive, Aerospace and Defence from IBM explained the benefits of blockchain technology. A show of hands showed the audience had heard of it but didn’t really know too much about it. Despite the common misconception it is only relevant to financial transactions, Jones asserted blockchain is capable of much more and could save businesses between 20-30% on their overall operating costs.
How? Jones says the financial services industry is already beginning to use blockchain for regulatory purposes. By digitising regulations and putting them on a blockchain rail, Jones explains compliance can be monitored in real-time without any paperwork. According to Jones, blockchain has already been successfully applied to the shipping industry.
The B word was also on the agenda, led by Alasdair Whyte, Managing Director of Corporate Jet Investor. The proposed two-year “transition period” after the March 2019 Brexit date could mean things don’t change too quickly, and the consensus of the panel, which included Mike Alcock, assistant director for aviation at the DfT, was that things might change very little in practice.
David Oastler, Brexit Focal at the UK CAA, said there is a lot of uncertainty and advised businesses should be thinking what they have to do – on many scenarios. However, the UK
Has such a presence in EASA and contributes so much to its work, it is going to be self-harming to Europe to exclude those resources, delegates heard.
In his CEO address Marc Bailey said it was extremely encouraging that BBGA is now well positioned with the authorities which greatly helps gives members a voice. Its new partnership with EBAA of shared membership for all UK registered member companies has bolstered membership to over 190. Marc, who is marking eight years as CEO, is chair of the national associations too and is working closely with EBAA to strengthen them and encourage fledgling associations in new territories, like Austria, for example.
Its determination to shed the perception that BBGA is run by a male, pale and stale closed jet club was evident at this upbeat, positive gathering, which was enhanced by app technology for posing audience questions and video coverage by GearUp.tv.
Updating members on its Visions and Values initiative launched last year, BBGA is making efforts to get out into the regions with its BBGA Connects scheme and is working closely with organisations including EBAA, AOA, IBAC, AOPA, GAA to get that single voice heard. It has been busy, along with 10-member volunteers, on a review of its structure, constitution, and governance which will be rolled out this year.
It is also restructuring its various work groups to focus on specific activity and challenges to encourage pro-active action by members. Its FBO group, for example, is focused on securing better access to slots and parking as business aviation is getting squeezed at busy airports like London Luton and Stansted.
BBGA’s activity is further bolstered by the news that the UK’s All-Party Parliamentary Aviation Group (APPG), headed by former minister Grant Shapps MP has now topped 100 MP members. A general aviation tsar, Bryon Davies has been appointed and the DoT is focusing on looking at the network of airfields it needs up until 2050.
Rounding off an informative day, Dr. Sarah Flattery from IHP Solutions, reminded delegates how important it is to switch off regularly – to aid business performance. This seems especially important in warding off distractions.
Each time we look at something on our phones – an email, social media – it takes approximately 23 minutes to re-focus. Flaherty pointed out that on average we’re likely to spend 40% of our day distracted, which is not good for productivity.
To combat both distraction and fatigue, Flaherty advocates practicing mindfulness, something which is known to be used by many successful CEOs. The results range from increased workforce attention and efficiency to less sickness. It’s all about finding balance.
‘Finding Balance’ is a great way to sum up the recent efforts of the BBGA. As outgoing CAA Chief Executive Andrew Haines compared general aviation with the chapels in South Wales where he grew up, joking, “They know what they agree on but not what they disagree on,” he underlined the importance of BBGA’s role –providing one clear voice for business and general aviation. Underlining the excellent relationship the UK CAA and BBGA enjoy Andrew introduced his successor Richard Moriarty at the Luton Hoo event, who stayed on all day to chat with delegates, right through to the evening gala dinner.
Malcolm at BT News